In his semi-weekly anti-Republican screed masquerading as a column, Krugman decides to delve into comedy. After attacking the Republican budget proposals which actually may cut a tiny sliver of spending (don't hold your breath, however), Krugman then gives us this gem:
What would real action on health look like? Well, it might include things like giving an independent commission the power to ensure that Medicare only pays for procedures with real medical value; rewarding health care providers for delivering quality care rather than simply paying a fixed sum for every procedure; limiting the tax deductibility of private insurance plans; and so on.Yes, talk to people in the healthcare business who actually have to deal with the new law and all of its new regulations. Talk to people who have to fork out huge amounts of money to comply with these new rules, the restrictions on care, and the like.
And what do these things have in common? They’re all in last year’s health reform bill.
That’s why I say that Mr. Obama gets too little credit. He has done more to rein in long-run deficits than any previous president. And if his opponents were serious about those deficits, they’d be backing his actions and calling for more; instead, they’ve been screaming about death panels.
This is "cost-cutting" in its most bureaucratic and Orwellian sense. One does not and CANNOT cut "costs" by forcing people to bear new costs. (Don't forget that Krugman himself used "death panels" in a positive way on national television, and he sees governmental denial of care as a legitimate tool for "cost-cutting.")
The fundamental concept in economics is opportunity cost. The Keynesian notion that government can simply create money to bring about new spending and thus reclaim "idle resources" is one way that Keynesians like Krugman like to claim that they can create the "free lunch." (Don't forget that Krugman himself makes that very claim in his Depression Economics book.)
So now we have Krugman claiming that forcing up real costs and passing laws somehow can circumvent the very real and immutable laws of economics. It's official; he no longer is an economist; he is a political operative, and maybe a comedian. Maybe both.